A team huddle is a great alternative to a mundane meeting!
Energize your workplace with this new meeting idea and watch your productivity soar.
Below, find I suggestions on how to hold the best team huddle possible, whether your team is face-to-face, or remote.
What Will Your Team Get Out of a Team Huddle?
- A chance to ask questions about new projects, plans, initiatives, policies, etc.
- A glimpse of what is expected of them today (not the far future) so that they know what needs to be worked on and completed
- An idea of progress that has been made and will be made
- A time to get everyone on the same page and pumped up for the work day
- A sense of unity
The “Flow” of the Team Huddle
- Manager greets team and talks about what he/she expects to be accomplished today as well as what needs to be focused on
- Go over top priorities to be accomplished this week (Remember, stay brief)
- What have we accomplished so far? Which team members have stood out? This is a great time to praise an employee for something they recently achieved.
- Any company updates
- Allow employees to quickly state what they will work on today/how they will work towards the company goal. The OKR framework is super helpful for that.
- Answer any quick questions (if a question will not be answered quickly, or it only applies to a specific person/group, talk about it after the huddle instead) and then allow everybody to get to work
Evaluate and change your huddle flow if needed to suit you and your team’s needs.
Team Huddles With Your Face-to-Face Team
First, it is important to ask yourself the following basic questions:
- How many days a week should the team huddle take place?
- Who will be at the team huddle?
- How long will it take place?
When deciding the above, it is important to consider the following:
- Consider if it is necessary to complete a team huddle every day. Perhaps you can run the huddles every other day and they will still be effective.
- Keep in mind, the amount of days you decide to have a team huddle does not and should not be set in stone. The consistency of these encounters might be different during a busy season (for example, for an accounting firm there might be more huddles during tax season), or depending on which projects your company is working on (for example, here at Appfluence, we are currently working on a marketing campaign and must have huddles every day of the week to make sure our team is on the same page).
- Whichever amount of days that you choose, you must make sure it is a regular schedule for that period of time (Example: we will have a daily team huddle during the marketing campaign and when things go back to every other day once the project is complete).
- If you have a lot of employees, it might be smart to have a couple huddles at specified times that focus on specific departments.
- This ensures that everybody gets a chance to speak and guarantees flawless communication. For instance, if you work at a software company, you might have a separate team huddle for the Engineers, the Customer Success Department, and the Marketing Department.
- Team huddles should not take too much time away from the work day.
- As you know, everybody has a job to get done and the entire point of this huddle is to just make sure everybody has a better understanding of what is going on across the business.
- A team huddle should ideally take no more than twenty minutes out of the workday if you are doing it correctly. Make sure you set time limits and do not go over those limits.
- Remember, this is NOT a meeting. The whole purpose of a huddle is to be short and sweet, yet enriching.
Strive For Consistency
Establish what time the team huddle will be at each day, where it will be, and again, how long it will take place. It is very important to make these huddles almost habitual, as in your employees automatically understand that they will expect a huddle that will go on for approximately 15 minutes in the conference room at 9:00 AM every Monday and Friday.
If you are wondering about what time the team huddle should be, it should be sometime in the morning. The huddle can take place right when people walk into the office, an hour after everybody is settled in, or right before lunch.
Whichever choice you make in regards to timing, you just need to make sure that it is in the AM for maximum effectiveness, or else it takes away from the main purpose of a team huddle which is to get everyone on task for the upcoming day.
In regards to location, just make sure it is somewhere where people can focus well.
Team Huddle Do’s
- Give everybody a chance to speak, and make sure that everybody does speak.
- Allow everybody to explain what they are working on today very briefly, their status of what they are working on, or obstacles that they are facing. Not only will this bring your team closer together and will keep your team on track, but it creates an opportunity where people are comfortable to address issues and ask questions.
- Tip: If some of your team members are less talkative (hopefully the team huddle is the cure to this as it builds unity within your group), then implement some sort of system to ensure everybody speaks. This could be as simple as going around in your circle.
- A more interactive way would be to have something like a ball and throw it to each team member to speak (I know, now we are back in elementary school gym class).
- Have everybody stand for the huddle.
- Standing will increase alertness and will guarantee that everybody is focused. This should decrease the duration of the huddle and prevent it from going over your time limit because let’s be honest – who wants to stand for over 15 minutes?
- Clarify anything that is not understood by your team and make sure that everyone understands it.
Team Huddle Don’ts
- Your team huddle is not the time to plan projects, solve projects, or negotiate. Rather, it is to focus on TODAY. With this being said, you can certainly touch on the above, but do not spend more than a couple of minutes doing so. If you need to go in depth about anything, make sure that you schedule a meeting very soon.
- Try not to get off topic. If somebody is constantly rambling about something or continuously going on tangents about things that are not important, make sure you have some sort of sign. It could be as simple as a funny sound on your iPhone or computer (there are apps with funny audio sounds), or nicely saying let’s move on, but head into my office later so we can address this topic.
Team Huddles With Your Remote Team
With the increase of new Project Management software like Priority Matrix, and communication software like GoToMeeting and TeamViewer, remote teams can work smoothly from miles apart. However, no matter how much technology you have, it might seem like you have a disadvantage over teams that are not remote. That doesn’t have to be the case though. While utilizing software like the above as well as incorporating team huddles, you can be just as organized as face-to-face teams.
I am not going to go into huge detail about a huddle with a remote team because most of it is the same as above; you should still keep is brief, consistent, follow the dos and don’ts, and go over the same specific topics. However, there are a couple of things you need to consider:
- How will we conduct the team huddle?
- When will we conduct the team huddle (especially if you are all in different time zones)?
To answer these questions, I would recommend using a video software. Skype and GoToMeeting are my personal favorites, and they are what we use here over at Appfluence. Communication through group conversations on a phone can be very difficult as there are not really any warnings from people who are trying to talk, or gestures.
In regard to time zones, that is something that needs to be agreed upon with your entire team. It might not be possible to conduct the huddle in the AM, and that is okay. Just like we talked about doing huddles with specific departments with face-to-face teams, it might be a good idea to coordinate huddles with specific time zones. What is important is that you are consistently speaking at some part of the day as a group to make sure everything is getting done as planned.
Once you incorporate the team huddle into your daily regimen, you will see progress. Sometimes all you have to do is flashback to those days in Elementary School and replicate them in the work place, but to a much larger scale of course.